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Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
Clinical Investigations

Test–Retest Reliability of Lower Extremity Functional Instability Measures

Birmingham, Trevor B. PhD

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Abstract

Objectives: 1) To evaluate the test–retest reliability of lower extremity functional instability measures involving testing situations of varying complexity, and 2) To evaluate the interrelationships among performances observed during these tests and a maximal single-limb forward hop for distance.

Design: A repeated measures design, repeated on two occasions.

Setting: Postural control laboratory.

Participants: Thirty young healthy subjects (23.5 ± 2.0 years).

Main Outcome Measures: Subjects performed single-limb standing balance and forward hop tests on two occasions completed within 1 week and at least 24 hours apart. Standing balance was assessed using a force platform and the following four progressively complex test situations: 1) standing on the stable platform with eyes open, 2) standing on a foam mat placed over the platform with eyes open, 3) standing on the stable platform with eyes closed, and 4) standing on the stable platform after landing from a maximal single-limb forward hop.

Results and Conclusions: Intraclass correlation coefficients were moderate to excellent (0.41 to 0.91) suggesting that the standing balance tests are appropriate for distinguishing among group performances. Standard errors of measurement and associated 95% confidence intervals suggested that a change in an individual's standing balance performance of approximately 10–30% would be necessary in order to confidently state that a true change had occurred. Stronger relationships were observed between hop distance and standing balance tests performed with eyes closed (r = −0.63, p < 0.001) and after landing from a maximal hop (r = −0.53, p = 0.003), suggesting that tests that challenge postural control to a greater extent are more representative of functional performance.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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